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    #1

    Question They were come

    "They were come to the town nearly at midnight."
    I have found this construction several times and am not sure about it. What does it mean? (Well, I know what it means but what bothers me is that it just looks strange for me and I cannot find the rule it is based on.)

    Best,
    Nyggus

  1. #2

    Re: They were come

    Quote Originally Posted by nyggus View Post
    "They were come to the town nearly at midnight."
    I have found this construction several times and am not sure about it. What does it mean? (Well, I know what it means but what bothers me is that it just looks strange for me and I cannot find the rule it is based on.)
    Best,
    Nyggus
    I must agree, it does sound a little peculiar.

    Instead of "were come" I would use "came"

    If it was me writing it however, I would rewrite the sentence as:

    "They arrived at the town close to midnight."

    I hope I helped

  2. #3

    Re: They were come

    Dwelling on the subject a little longer, you could possibly change "come" to "coming".

    An example being:

    "They were coming to town for the event but had to cancel when they missed their train."

    VS

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    #4

    Re: They were come

    Hello Nyggus

    In some verbs of motion and change (e.g. come, go, become), it was once customary to use "to be" as the auxiliary instead of "to have".

    You still find it in modern texts, sometimes: it has an archaic air (slightly Biblical, perhaps).

    All the best,

    MrP

    PS: Thus "they were come" means "they had come".

  3. #5

    Re: They were come

    Thanks for your sage advice, MrP

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    #6

    Thumbs up Re: They were come

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic View Post
    Hello Nyggus

    In some verbs of motion and change (e.g. come, go, become), it was once customary to use "to be" as the auxiliary instead of "to have".

    You still find it in modern texts, sometimes: it has an archaic air (slightly Biblical, perhaps).

    All the best,

    MrP

    PS: Thus "they were come" means "they had come".
    Thanks, MrP. Actually, it was from Tolkien, and there you may find some archaic air.

    Best,
    Nyggus

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